by Patty Azzarello
I often say that your job is your job description AND dealing with all the crap that gets in the way of getting your job description done.
Stupid obstacles often come in the form of peopleâs opinions, corporate policy, changes of direction, fire drills, conflicting goals, delayed decisions, unclear strategies, shall I go on?
Itâs always important to remember that you canât blame your failure on other people being stupid.
Six months or a year down the road, if the reason that you didnât get something done is because someone else has or hasnât done has something, or someone else has blocked you, you are still the one who has lost.
1. The right language
Clearing an obstacle that is being put in place by another person or policy has everything to do with language.
And there are two language techniques I have found to be really useful to get things going your way again when you are confronted with difficult, rigid, indecisive, orÂ stupid people.
What is the NAME of the Meeting the other person would WANT to attend?
For example, If your requests for a program change in other organization are going ignored, the name of the meeting YOU want to have with the manger is called something like,Â âYou are doing this wrong and I need you to change it, because itâs killing meâ.
But would they really want to attend that meeting?
Change the name of the meeting to name their problem, not yours.
When you are trying to get someone to do something for you, you need to name the meeting something that is relevant and motivating to them.Â âI wantÂ to discuss how my team can solve your most critical competitive issue, with no increased cost on your partâ.
Then when you have the meeting, make sure to stay relevant to them.Â Describe your problem in the context and actual vocabulary of the business problems they are facing right now, and how the action you are requesting is directly beneficial to them.
If you donât use the right language, you will not be relevant to them, and you will continue to go unheard, and un-helped.
2. âIâm hoping you can help meâ¦â
The angrier and more frustrated you are, the more you are likely to start a conversation with something like, This is all messed up because [of something you, (or the people you represent are doing)]
Do you really expect their reaction to be helpful at this point?
Wow. thank you for telling me how stupid and wrong I am.Â You are so smart, please tell me what do do next? I am at your service.
Even if it is all their fault, if you need to influence them to do something better or different, a far more useful approach is to open with, âIâm hoping you can help meâ.
I use this not only colleagues, but with utility companies, hotels, and health insurance providers all the time.Â It works like a charm.Â I guess, because you are using some charmâ¦
Engage people to WANT to help you
When someone says to me,Â âIâm hoping you can help meâ¦â, I always think, âhmmmâ¦ I wonder what this challenge might be?Â Can I really help? Iâm kind of hoping I can help â¦
This approach builds people up instead of cutting them down.Â They have power to help if they choose to.Â Giving this small bit of respect makes them want to help you.Â People generally like to help.
If you donât attack them first and tell them how wrong and incompetent they are,Â you stand a far greater chance of getting what you need from them.
I know it is frustrating when the people you are dealing with are actually wrong and/or stupid, but if they are indeed creating an obstacle, itâs your job to clear the obstacle and get the job done, not to prove that you are right and demand their support.
How have you persuaded difficult people or adversaries?
Leave your ideas in the comment box below!
Patty Azzarello is an executive, author, speaker and CEO-advior. She works with executives where leadership and business challenges meet. Patty has held leadership roles in General Management, Marketing, Software Product Development and Sales, and has been successful in running large and small businesses. She writes at Patty Azzarello’s Business Leadership Blog. You’ll find her on Twitter as @PattyAzzarello. Also, check out her new book Rise…
Successful-Blog is proud affiliate of